Thursday, June 26, 2008

A Run For The Ages - Of Fawns, Bears and Picture Perfect Views

As a trailrunner, I have the great fortune on seeing parts of the wilderness most will never get to a quick manner. But absolutely none of my experiences could have prepared me for one epic run at Sequoia NP (I promise, I'll shut up about that place after this post).

The goal for the day was a place called Pear Lake. My run started at about 7,200 feet elevation at Wolverton parking lot. After I transferred all relevant items from my car to a bear locker, I was off. After about 20 mins, I happened on a few people taking pictures. A fawn and her mom were grazing right by the trail. The fawn couldn't have been more than a few weeks old. It was still struggling mightily with her balance. But it was mighty photogenic.

After this encounter, I made my way up a hill known simply as "The Hump". Except where I come from, we call those mountains and would give it a more appropriate name like Lungbuster Peak or Wtf-Was-I-Thinking?-Gap. After climbing about 2000 feet in about two miles, I was rewarded with absolutely breathtaking backcountry views. I topped out at around 9,800 that day...a new altitude record for me by over 2,000 feet.
After having just arrived atop The Hump. (Yes, I have some sexy shorts.)

From here, the trail became a little less challenging in terms of vertical, but more technical/rocky with some snow-covered sections. Pictures will have to speak a thousand words for me here:
I practice that pose in front of the mirror. Got it almost identical in the last two shots.

Pear Lake

My view during my lunch break. I do not miss my old cubicle.

During this run I discovered that Nuun works great as a taste and color neutralizer for iodine pills. One more reason to love that stuff.

After spending lunch at Pear Lake, which I had completely to myself for all but the first 10 mins, I was headed back down.

About a 1/2 mile from the parking lot it happened: I saw my first bear! As a matter of fact, there were two: a mother and her cub. The mother was trying to find food inside a tree while the cub was playing in the grass. A couple of hikers and I got to watch for about 5 or 6 minutes.
You may be able to make out mama bear leaning against the left side of middle tree in the back.

I had been pretty concerned about running into the big fur balls the whole week, but when it finally happened, I was thrilled. What a spectacle!!

All of the above is from one day, one run. There may never be a day for me on the trail quite like this. How could there be?


David Ray said...

Geez, enough already, you're out west, we get it.

Kidding, that's just kidding.

Seriously beautiful shots. That Pear Lake looks awesome.

Deer, then bear, now you just need rattlesnakes and mountain lions.

Addy said...

amazing photos :) What a special run! Running in the Sierras is truly amazing and its great that you got out there and did it right after you moved. Plenty of people live in CA and never even get over there.

I love that fawn precious!

Sunshine Girl said...

Shiiiiyit, it looks like your running in my backyard now!! How did you do with the running in snow??